Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Aug 17:
The Chhattisa Nijog (federation of temple servitor bodies) of the Shree Jagannath temple’ which met in Odisha’s pilgrim town of Puri today, failed to take a decision on the relocation of the presiding deities to facilitate repair of the badly damaged Jagamohana (audience hall).
Servitors opposed the repair of the Ratna Bhandar (treasury) and the method employed by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in conducting repairs of the temple.
“We held a general discussion on the options available. A final decision will be taken after the Technical Committee meeting on August 21 where we will be getting the detailed report of the ASI. The temple managing committee will meet on August 22 to take a call on the relocation of the idols to facilitate repairs,” said Suresh Mohapatra, chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).
“The ASI had taken the temple under its protection in the year 1974-75. During all these years, we were not allowed to check that. I will thank the temple administration for allowing us to check it out this year. We have checked it and we will do all that is required for the full-fledged repair of the Jagamohana. Whatever that is required will be done,” said AK Patel, Superintendent of ASI.
“We are 90% against relocation of the deities because there is no alternate location. We will finish rituals of the Lords early and allow them around eight hours’ time every day to undertake repairs which they say will take eight months to complete,” said Damodar Mahasuar, member of Chhattisha Nijog.
ASI has written a letter to the SJTA recently asking for relocation of the presiding deities as soon as possible as repair works were urgently needed. The ASI director general has asked the SJTA to evacuate the Jagamohana area of the temple, which is in need of immediate repair.
The ASI had undertaken temporary repairs of the Jagamohana during the Rath yatra of the Lords. Two stone blocks which have got dislodged from their position in the ceiling of the Jagamohana have been reinforced using steel brackets as a temporary measure.